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Pituitary adenoma – Quick review card

Pituitary tumors – ie Pituitary adenomas or 
tumours of the anterior pituitary , Most are benign , slow growing adenomas Pituitary adenomas are non -metastasizing neoplasms ( Pituitary carcinoma , a malignant tumour is extremely rare ) Third most common cause of CNS tumours in adults Presentation is based on the hormone secreted and mass effect due to size About a 3rd of PA’s are incidentilomas ie they are detected incidentally during unrelated imaging or post mortem examinations Most PA’s are sporadic ( 95 % ) but some may occur as part of inherited syndromes as MEN 1


Functioning – with hormone 
production Prolactinoma -overproduces prolactin ( lactotroph ) Acromegaly – excess growth hormone ( somatotroph ) Cushing’d disease – overproduction of cortisol 
( corticotroph ) TSH secreting pituitary adenoma (thyrotroph )
thyrotropinoma , excess TSH secretion causing hyperthryoidism Gonadotroph adenoma ( rare ) Plurihormonal – make more than 1 hormone


Clinically Non-functioning PA’s 
( CNFPA’s without production of hormones )

no secretion of any detectable hormones symptoms are due to mass effect as visual field 
defect ( compression of optic chiasm ) and headache 
( irritation and increased stretch of the dura mater )


Tumor compressing normal pituitary 
gland Primary hypopituitarism

 haemorrhage / Infarction Pituitary apoplexy


  1. Pituitary adenomas UCLA Health Pituitary Adenomas | UCLA Pituitary Tumor Program
  2. Cancer org -About Pituitary adenomas 8788.00.pdf (
  3. Melmed, Shlomo. “Pituitary tumors.” Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America vol. 44,1 (2015): 1-9. doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2014.11.004


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